Feb 24 2024 - Jun 29 2024
Gallery Space
A cura di
with the participation of Jean-Luc Olivié, chief curator (glass) at Musée des Arts Décoratifs MAD Paris at the opening

Once again, after more than fifty years of a brilliant artistic career, Richard Meitner’s work seems poised once again to take on new and intriguing form. The artist has worked for decades with glass, and from very early on, frequently combined it in surprising ways with other materials. With an impressive career also as a highly respected professor in art education, his artworks are presently included in the permanent collections of more than 60 museums throughout the world. The work he will be presenting at this exhibition, to which the artist has given the title “Schizzi Selvaggi”, gives form to his intention to use the noble material glass, paradoxically, “to sketch with”. Gestures, balancing acts, references to painting, dances…These words come to mind when one stands in front of the wall adorned with these schizzi, we feel confronted with a veritable frenzy of meanings. But at the same time, entirely consistent with all his work and intentions, none of the meanings are either singular or easy to formulate. Meitner’s work, throughout his long career, has always changed, surprised, stimulated, and been clearly of influence for others working with glass. What should be further said about Meitner and his highly unusual works? When considering that question, at the artist’s suggestion, we will here quote the exact words of Anna Venini. On the occasion of a solo retrospective exhibition of Richard’s work in the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, in Paris, Anna Venini wrote the following text about him. The artist has always considered her words, in view of the authority of their author, among the highest praise imaginable.


“I met Richard Meitner in Murano when he came to work for us at EOS, the small factory we had opened after selling Venini; a sad period as my husband had recently died. I fell in love with his work immediately. Those animals, those bottles and lamps, were creatures from a special word, not simply a child’s world of fantasy, but informed by serious scientific ideas.

What he designed was philosophical, research into a world where glass was important, but not essential. Richard reminds me of an alchemist, and I can imagine him doing his work in a dark and mysterious room, perhaps full of haze, replete of course with an oven to blow glass, but also filled to the brink with many and varied materials of different natures. I remember some pieces he made using the typical Delft Blue decoration of Holland, gold lusters, and a number of other surface decorations which were the product of much thought and research he had done himself. I can no longer even describe them.

I am particularly fond of his animals, especially those strange rabbits which periodically appear and disappear in his work. They are certainly, with their strange expressions, creatures from another world, a “Richard world”. I am the proud owner of a piece by Richard, one that gives me a great deal of pleasure to look at. A long-blown tube, it resembles a thermometer, but the temperature gauges are fantastic images. A magnifying glass attached to the piece urges one to pay precise attention, but just what is it we are measuring?

The best way I have to express what I like most about Richard and his work is perhaps this: he lives in an extraordinary world, one that is not simply the pleasing visual world of fairy tales, but is at the same time a breeding ground for some serious (albeit elusive) philosophical thought and research.

It is from this place that he creates. It is my feeling that he has not only already accomplished great things, but has, in addition, a long career in front of him as an important artist.

I come from a family of glass makers. I love Richard’s work most certainly not only for that reason, but also because Richard is able to approach that material and use it with culture, with great fantasy and originality, with authority and great thoughtfulness. That combination is, in my experience, highly unusual.”                                                                                                

Anna Venini, Venice, May 2001


Short Curriculum Vitae

Richard Meitner (USA 1945, lives and works in Amsterdam) has lectured, conducted workshops, and been invited artist-in-residence in the U.S.A., Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain, Malta, Portugal, Sweden, the Maldives, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Italy and Japan. He has worked as a designer for the glass industry in Italy, Germany Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Meitner has also served on the Dutch National Commission for Endowments for the Arts, the Dutch National Advisory Board for the Arts, and as jury member for the International Glass Prize in Belgium. In 2021, Meitner was awarded the prestigious Glass Art Society Lifetime Achievement Award Together with Mieke Groot, from 1981 to 2000, he was in charge of the glass department at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. In 2006, he was appointed to the faculty for science and technology of the Universidade Nova de Lisboa (New University of Lisbon), Portugal and continues there. In 2016, he earned a PhD from the University of Lisbon, Belas Artes. Meitner has taken part in more than 150 solo and group exhibitions all over the world, and his works are now included in more than 60 permanent museum- and public collections in 17 countries.